Predictability. A CEO needs it. The Board demands it. So what do you do if your team does not consistently provide revenue predictability?
Have your Sales Leader provide a comprehensive buyer engagement plan. The plan should include a well-drawn approach to prospecting and sales process. When executed correctly, this will lead to a full funnel and revenue predictability.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that your team will draw attention to a sales funnel problem. If they do draw attention to the problem, it’s often too late. They have place a late bet. Up to the last moment, they scramble to avert disaster.
This high-stakes game of chicken can ruin your tenure as CEO. When you miss the number, you get sacked. Then you’re thrown into the open market talent pool. You’re either doomed to repeat your mistakes or are wiser for them
The problem starts small. A group of reps decide to play golf instead of nurture their LinkedIn network. Or someone rushes a big deal and blows the close. Gradually, your pipeline dries up. By quarter’s end, you are left holding an empty bag
According to SBI’s 2015 research guide, 78% of sales teams have the wrong sales strategy. Worse yet, 39% don’t have a strategy at all. Without a sales strategy, you will not make your number. Buyer engagement is a critical piece of the strategic plan. So without engagement, the CEO is lacking a critical strategic requirement: a predictable funnel.
Buyer Engagement To prevent Sales funnel problems, the Sales team must focus on consistent buyer engagement. This focus should become part of a winning culture led by the CEO. There are two critical components of an effective buyer engagement methodology:
1. Prospecting – Fill the sales funnel with enough opportunities to make the revenue goal.
2. Sales Process – Deploy a sales process tailored to how your buyers want to buy. This will improve win rates and deal sizes while shortening the sales cycle length
Even with a world-class Marketing team, Sales needs to generate 50-70% of the opportunities. Our client results have shown three benefits of effective buyer engagement (specifically sales process)
1. Close 1/3 more deals
2. Reduce sales cycle time by 50%
3. Increase average deal size by 2X.
Prospecting: Fill the Top of the Funnel Fill the sales funnel with enough opportunities to make the revenue goal. Need to get decision makers to say, “I’m interested – when can we meet?”
Your sales team needs to generate new opportunities on an ongoing basis. This requires a modern approach focused on networking events and social selling techniques. The Engagement Questionnaire will help you take inventory of your methods. By the end of the review, you can draft a baseline prospecting plan.
Sales Process: Manage Your Opportunities Deploy a sales process tailored to how your buyers want to buy. This will improve win rates and deal sizes while shortening the sales cycle length
Buyers are making purchasing decisions differently than in the past. In fact, 57% of the buying process is completed before buyer-rep interaction. (Source – CEB, The New High Performer Playbook, Arlington VA, 2012.) This means the buyer is researching before you enter the picture. Your sales process must be aligned with the way your buyers buy.
With the Engagement Questionnaire, test your leadership team. Make sure they understand the modern buying process. Determine their path forward toward alignment with your buyer. Force them to deploy a sales process that effectively engages that buyer
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Revenue predictability is needed for a successful year. To assure this, have your Sales Leader provide a comprehensive buyer engagement plan. The plan should include a well-drawn approach to prospecting and sales process. As CEO, facilitate a discussion to address this need.
To guide the discussion with your sales leaders, download the Engagement Questionnaire. This is an off-the-shelf discussion guide to determine how your sales leaders will effectively engage with your buyers.